Sunday, June 21, 2015

Daddy's Girl

   I was a rarity during my childhood. In fact, I'm pretty sure, that in the 70's and 80's in my small town, there might have been only one other child whose parents were divorced to the extreme. Let me explain: divorced to the extreme means that one parent is completely absent from the life of the child... at least that's how I viewed it. I was one of those children. 
   My dad pulled the disappearing act when he found out my mother was pregnant with me, but that's 44 years in the past. I want to talk about today... I want to talk about the phenomenon of the absent father. So this blog post goes out to all of the men, young and old, who are choosing not to participate in their children's lives... I say choosing because that's what it is, truly. A choice. 
   I am a daddy's girl. Not in the traditional sense. I didn't force my daddy to help me put diapers on my baby dolls. I didn't make him have tea with me. I didn't ask him to teach me to shoot a bow and arrow. He didn't make my prom date come in and meet him and shake his hand. I didn't look lovingly into his eyes when he saw me for the first time in my wedding dress... I didn't hesitate to let go of his hand at the end of the aisle. I never saw the tears in his eyes when he held his first grandchild. I wasn't with him as he passed into the next life. But I am a daddy's girl... all the way.
   My first instinct is to never trust anyone, especially men. My husband must be part saint to put up with me... I have NO idea how to relate to men. I have no idea how to let a man love me. I have no idea how I am supposed to be treated by a man... go through college with that in your suitcase, ladies, and you will rapidly learn that the daddy deficit in your life left you coming up short in so many ways. I am a daddy's girl. 
   I don't know how to honor a man. I'm bad with authority... really bad. It's not easy to hold down a job when you have a problem like that. It only took me forty years to learn how to deal. There was no father to tactfully and delicately show me that the job of a man is not to control and contain but to protect and encourage. I am a daddy's girl.
   I never went down this road completely, but there were plenty of times that I started down the road where all of the stops are leaving little pieces of yourself with any man that will have you because you think that physicality is love. It's the stray dog syndrome: If you feed me your leftovers, I will stay because I don't know what it is like to be fully loved with freedom and compassion and respect. I am a daddy's girl. 
   That's not what this post is about, though. It has taken me 44 years to get to a place where I can forgive and move on... where I can find other examples to follow. And I had an amazing father-in-law who taught me so much by his examples of compassion and quiet strength that I consider myself semi-recovered. This post is to all of those "baby daddies" out there, especially young men who are creating an entire generation of daddy's girls just like me. I want to tell you what you are doing to that little person that you created. 
   You are teaching her that men are the enemy. You are teaching her that she is not worth the time of the man who helped create her. You are teaching her that you don't have to love or respect a woman to father a child. You are teaching her to not trust anyone. You are teaching her that men serve no purpose but to hurt and leave. You are teaching her that there is no one she can rely on, that she will have to do it all by herself, that she is nothing special, that she is your living, breathing, walking mistake. 
   It takes two to tango... that's what my mother always said. She would never say a bad thing about my father, never. But it doesn't take long to learn who is there and who is not.... who is taking care of you and who is not... who is dependable and who is not. And young man, middle-aged man, old man... if you fall into anyone of these categories then you are taking the life of your little girl. Your blatant disrespect and disregard for her mother, not matter what the circumstances, is interpreted by your little girl that you don't care about her and if you, the man who is half of her, doesn't care about her, then no one will and why should they. You will ultimately be the reason for her failed relationships, for her fear of trusting, for her desperate reaches for love. And the chances of you becoming a grandfather sooner than you planned are greatly increased because of you. Because if she can't get the right kind of love from you, she will confuse the wrong kind of love as something that is better than nothing. And realize, in that statement, you are the nothing. 
   And as if that isn't enough, let me leave you with one last thought: You are the physical representation of how she views and relates to her heavenly Father. Whether she trusts Him, rebels against Him, has a relationship with Him basically comes down to you. That's a lot of pressure, isn't it? And none of that crossed your mind when you looked longingly into the eyes of the mother of your child, someone else's daughter, and made your choice. 
   It may sound like I am pointing blame. I am. Believe me when I tell you that this is temperate to what I would say to a young woman who won't be a mother to her child. So I will leave you with this: You have two options when it comes to being a father: Be the joy that she has now, train her and show her how to love herself or you can be the pain that scrapes her as she tries to squeeze through life later. You need to decide now and take responsibility now for what you are doing or have done. She is your daughter, she is your flesh and blood; don't blame her for your immaturity and selfishness. Don't make her pay for it with every relationship that she tries to have. Don't turn her into THAT daddy's girl.